Image #260 – Hummingbird in the rain

Ruby throat hummingbird
Ruby throat hummingbird

It has been a wet day here in Western North Carolina. Wet and cool. Natives are already predicting a long, cold winter.  But for the moment it is still summer and there are baby birds to feed.  Today my feeder was like a drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant. At one point I counted eight cardinals gathered round the feeders. Some of the males flew in to frighten the poor house finches who look so miserable in weather like this. Once the finches were gone the cardinals fed peacefully in some pre-ordained order. Who knows how all these things work.

The hummingbirds have also been in and out all day. That’s one of them in the picture. Notice the raindrop on his head. Hummingbirds rarely feed at the same time. They must have “little bird syndrome” because they are quick to drive away the other hummers. I suppose they each get enough. There were at least three today and I spent so much time observing them that I began to notice the traits and slightly different coloring.

There were at least 13 species of bird at my feeders today. It was a good day, despite the weather ❧

Image #254 – Indigo Bunting


Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)

An Indigo Bunting, adult male. I can’t recall sighting an Indigo Bunting before this season. A friend has told me she saw one in Manatee County but I can’t recall ever seeing one before.   So, this is an extra special event. I apologize for the graininess of the image. (SPOILER: Geek talk ahead.)  I had boosted the ISO rather high in an attempt to capture images of fireflies. In my excitement I forgot to check all the camera settings. But on some levels I like this shot being grainy.  It seems more real.

At any rate, I have now identified an Indgo Bunting at the feeder which brings the “life list” for the feeder to about 20 birds…20 and hoping.  ❧

Image #221 – Captive Bluebird

Bluebird 1

There was an unexpected visitor this morning.  A bluebird got stuck in the pool cage!  I can’t recall ever seeing bluebirds in Sarasota. The first one I saw was a couple of years ago in Laurel. But since staying at Mary’s I’ve seen several, at least three at a time.  Hard to say if it’s a family settling in or just “snowbirds.”

We aren’t sure how this fellow got into the pool cage His mate was outside calling to him and he would answer–frantic, reassuring?  Oh, to understand what birds say.

This shot displays his beautiful tail feathers.

Bluebird 2And here is a good shot of his chest.

Bluebird 3

He safely escaped after we opened the door. I saw two bluebirds about an hour later as I walked Tango. I could swear one said, “Thank you.”  🙂

Image #220 – Flight pictures

Image #220 (1)

Frequent visitors by now will have figured out that I take many pictures and only a small percentage reach this blog. I try to be discriminating but sometimes, I think, I may apply too high a standard. The picture above is a case in point. This was captured about a week ago. I was at a nearby park and saw these pretty birds “working” the area around the fence. The markings on this bird are quite distinctive but my reference resources are limited so I don’t know what kind of bird it is. Please, anyone, feel free to help me out.

When I sorted the pictures that night I lingered on this photo for quite a while because it is so dramatic. Birds are such awesome creatures of agility and I love pictures that capture their moves. I was going to post it but then thought better of it because it wasn’t “good enough.”

And then a fellow blogger — Bird Canada — posted a blog about flight and said, “in fact, a good picture can reveal things that go [by]  too quickly if you are looking at it at normal speed (even after the fact on a video).”  I immediately thought about this photo.  Yes, it isn’t as sharp as I would like but it is a good picture because of what it reveals. It has caught this bird springing straight into the air from the fence, with his wings tucked and extended all at the same time.  In the next moment, which I and the camera completely missed, he dove straight down in fast pursuit of a tasty morsel.

So, thanks Pierre for  your wonderful photo-essay.  Photographing birds in flight is not easy but even the less than perfect picture can be pleasing. ❧

Image #211 – Good Geese!


That’s Caesar in the white wings, feeling his oats I suspect. Caesar is Mary’s new male goose, recently acquired to replace the late and fondly remembered Doodle.  Caesar has been at Mary’s for about a month. I had the good fortune to observe his first dip in the pond.  The ladies were happy to join him.  They splash about and engage in reproductive as well as hygienic activities. Mary has wondered what the geese might look like who come from Caesar mating with the Toulouse geese.  Stay tuned . . . ❧

Image #204 – Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo

Sorry if you were expecting a blog on Wild Turkey bourbon. This is the real deal, a young Wild Turkey from Myakka River State Park. At one point in time Wild Turkeys were virtually extinct in Myakka. Hunters had decimated the abundant flocks in the early 20th Century but the bird was re-introduced and protected. It now thrives. Perhaps these birds have some genetic memory of the slaughter their ancestors endured. They are always on the move, pecking quickly at the ground, never stopping…or so it seems. It has been hard to get a good picture but this picture shows quite a bit of the beautiful coloring on these birds. ❧

Image #203 – Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberry blossoms
Wild Blueberry blossoms

Tango and I got out to Myakka River State Park yesterday and had an excellent hike along Fox’s Low Road.  Spring is definitely springing here in Florida. The oak trees have that lovely spring green color, wild flowers can be found and, as you can see from the photo, the blueberries have started to produce their fruit.  From blossom to fruit is about 4-6 weeks, so these bushes will be ready to feed the birds when it is time to fly back north. What a marvel nature is. ❧

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